The U.S. is not rethinking its supply of munitions to Israel despite a string of recent State Department statements sharply condemning Israeli strikes that have killed civilians near U.N.-run shelters and schools in Gaza.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday that the U.S. would continue to supply Israel with ammunition under previous agreements and said the agency's concern about how those munitions are being used would not impact U.S. support for Israel to defend itself against rocket attacks from Hamas.
“Our concern is [Israel] should hold themselves to a higher standard” when it comes to limiting civilian casualties, Psaki said.
The statement she issued Sunday, she said, expressed concern about the number of civilian casualties involved in a recent spate of Israeli attacks that used ammunition and weapons materials, “wherever they came from."
On Sunday, Psaki used the strongest language yet to condemn an Israeli strike that killed 10 people near a school in Gaza that was being used as a shelter for 3,000 people.
“The United States is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons,” Psaki said in a statement. “We once again stress that Israel must do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties.”
“The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so man innocent civilians,” she concluded.
The statement angered Israelis, who said the U.S. needs to be more precise in its accounts and didn't have all the facts in the case.
Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer on Monday said Psaki was rushing to judgment.
"You just don’t know all the facts," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "This has happened a number of times where people say certain things about Israel and the action without actually knowing the facts, and this is an example of one of those cases."
"In the same statement, it was said that [Israel] shelled that facility. Obviously, we didn’t shell the facility — we didn’t actually hit the facility at all," he said.
Over the last week, the U.S. has provided Israel with tank rounds and other munitions from a $1 billion stockpile stored by the U.S. military in Israel and utilized by Tel Aviv during emergencies.
U.S. defense officials have downplayed the sale during Israel’s current ground offensive in Gaza, saying the request for ammunition was a “routine” foreign military sale of munitions that have been in the stockpile for years.